Innovate. Create. Change. New Ideas that Power SDG Progress in Asia and the Pacific - Partnership Series 3

The stories in this report show how UNDP is supporting governments in Asia and the Pacific in using innovation to reach people, improve well-being, provide services and mobilize financing as never before. In each case, new thinking has been the starting point, and the definition of innovation has been broad and responsive to circumstances in individual countries. Some solutions draw on cutting-edge technology; others are about behaviour change; some are a mix of both. All are producing advances that collectively cut across the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

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Breaking the mould - UNDP supports Innovation in Asia-Pacific

New York, 29 November, 2017 –  The United Nations Development Programme launched a report by the agency’s Asia-Pacific bureau. It details how it is using technology and innovation to transform access to public services, jump-start entrepreneurship, and strengthen crisis-response across Asia.      

Titled Innovate. Create. Change. New Ideas that Power SDG Progress in Asia and the Pacific, the report describes large-scale projects in ten countries in the region – Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste – that have accelerated progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), (contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.)

“While poverty rates have declined and social improvements have come for 700 million people across Asia and the Pacific over a decade, the region is still home to more than two-thirds of the world’s poor. In this context development solutions have to evolve fast,” said Haoliang Xu, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific” Xu said.  

This stories document UNDP’s innovation journey and highlight innovative practices and lessons learned that could be scaled up to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The report follows a November announcement of Sophia the Robot as the Bureau’s first Innovation Champion at the Responsible Business Forum in Singapore. Sophia – an exemplar of cutting-edge artificial intelligence – was featured in conversation at the Forum, where she pledged to support the agency’s efforts tackle the region’s complex development challenges.   

The new report shows how UNDP is supporting governments in Asia and the Pacific in using innovation to reach people, improve well-being, provide services and mobilize financing, as never before.

In each case, new thinking has been the starting point, and the definition of innovation has been broad and responsive to circumstances in individual countries. Some solutions draw on cutting-edge technology; others are about behavior change; some are a mix of both. All are producing advances that collectively cut across the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“We endorse new technology with the power to transform people’s lives, who are in need,” said Haoliang Xu. “Innovation makes this not only more responsive to people, but also better, easier, and in some cases, cheaper.”’

The featured stories evidence innovation as a critical element in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as the complexity of the challenge to achieve the SDGs will need extraordinary levels of cooperation and collaboration.

To cope with disruptive technologies, and to meet growing public needs and demands for better services, funding must go above and beyond public budgets available in the region, so that innovative solutions can be scaled up.  UNDP is at the heart of this change and it likewise is adapting and adopting innovative measures internally to be able to respond to rapidly changing and increasing development needs.  

 

Contact Information

Faiza Effendi,
Strategic Planning Advisor,
Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP New York;
Faiza.effendi@undp.org

Mahtab Haider,
Communications Specialist,
UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub;
Mahtab.haider@undp.org

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UNDP’s innovation journey in Asia and the Pacific has gone far. Our goal was to break the mould, disrupt conventional thinking and imagine the changes we want to see. We set out to scan for new ideas, test them, learn from those that do not work, and work with Asia and the Pacific governments and other partners in scaling up those that do.

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